The Tetebatu rice fields were painted green with foliage and sprouting palm trees like a city skyline as far as the eye can see. The elevated borders around each rice bed provided path for my wandering feet as I explored the fields and followed my guide. Careful not to fall down the steep slope of mud, I took my time walking the narrow strip while listening as my guide described village life.
Today, I was being introduced to the process of cultivating rice. Unlike my experience at the Tegalalang rice terraces of Ubud where there were hoards of noisy tourists, here the views were spectacular and could be enjoyed without the constant clicking of cameras.
Tetebatu is restful & secluded with only sounds of trickling water streams and squelches of mud as you walk amongst the water beds. The rice fields are coated in lush strains of grass sprouting through beds of water, reflecting an endless row of palm trees in the backdrop.
Whilst I was sweltering under a well-padded backpack during the heat of the day, the handful of villagers working the fields were well prepared with wide brimmed straw hats. My guide explained the crop planting was traditionally a woman’s job in the village and urged us to approach closer to see their demonstration.
The ladies laughed when I wanted to get involved and gladly showed me the ropes. Although you would expect a language barrier to be an issue, the guidance from these ladies made vocal communication unnecessary. I reassured them of my capabilities by jokingly flexing my muscles to hint that I was ‘strong’ to which they laughed. I have always found humour to be a great tool in untranslatable moments.
They showed me where to plant and I happily followed along asking for more grass to plant every couple of seconds. This went well and I was learning, until I noticed my group was a distance away, waving for me to join them, and with that cue my work experience was over.
Tetebatu is located in Lombok, Indonesia. During my 1 night visit in the village I stayed at the ‘Green Orry Inn’. The accomodation was simple but beautiful, and the secluded and peaceful hotel grounds had a pool, rice paddy, and restaurant. I remember spending that night pool side, then at the restaurant with my fellow travellers and guide whom told us of his childhood and village life.